Captive-bred regent honeyeaters – a native Australian songbird threatened with extinction – are being taught to sing the right songs, with new research showing it helps them survive when they are released into the wild. Less than 400 critically endangered regent honeyeaters, a woodland songbird, are left in the wild so conservationists are supporting the bird with a captive breeding program. The striking yellow and black bird, known for its ability to mimic the songs of other birds, were once seen in large flocks where fledglings would hear the calls of other honeyeaters. But as numbers have dwindled, scientists think males in the wild are forgetting how to sing their love songs, with potential knock-on effects on their ability to find a mate. Now a study that tracked 285 birds released between 2008 and 2017 has found captive fledglings taught how to sing in their aviaries either through song played through speakers or by nearby adults had a better chance of survival. Dr Joy Tripovich, a behavioural biologist at the Taronga Conservation Society, said: “We know from previous studies that if you are singing a different song it leads to a disadvantage in the wild. If we make a […]

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